Ford F-150 Transmission Problems

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The Ford F150 is an American-made, full-size pickup truck that has been produced since 1948.

The F150 has offered a range of models over the years and has been loved by hundreds of thousands of people all around the globe.

It has become an amazing daily driving option, and no one can go wrong with it. Since its introduction over half a century ago, there have been reports of unsatisfied customers.

The most serious ones are related to transmission. These problems have led many people to ask about Ford F150 transmission problems.

The answer is yes, there are some problems, and the most common ones are:

  1. Leaking Transmission Fluid
  2. Erratic Shifting
  3. Holding On To The Previous Gear
  4. Burning Smell
  5. Hard Shifting
  6. Jerking While Driving
  7. Transmission Slipping
  8. Loss Of Acceleration
  9. Loss Of Traction Due To Downshifting
  10. Transmission Knocking

If your Ford F150 exhibits the following symptoms, you must continue reading this article.

Not only will the cause of the symptoms be discussed in detail, but there will also be a discussion on which models of the F150 truck are prone to transmission problems.

10 Signs Of Transmission Problems In A Ford F150

Learn why your Ford F-150 transmission fails

Regarding the transmission of your Ford F150, you should not leave anything to chance.

A small symptom may develop into a serious issue. So, let’s examine the reasons listed in the introduction!

1. Leaking Transmission Fluid

Leaking transmission fluid is a common sign of transmission problems in Ford F150s.

This can happen due to failing seals or o rings, responsible for keeping the fluid within your transmission.

If these gaskets fail, fluid will leak out of your transmission and onto the ground. You will also notice a red liquid present underneath the truck.

This clearly indicates that the transmission fluid is not retained where it should be. (Learn how to check your Ford F150 transmission fluid).

2. Erratic Shifting

If you notice that the transmission of your Ford F150 is shifting erratically, a couple of things could be going on.

First, a low line pressure can cause this problem. This may occur due to a contaminated transmission fluid or faulty sensor.

Second, if your Ford F150 is equipped with a transmission pump, which could also be faulty, this can happen due to normal wear and tear.

If it has been driven for over 200,000 miles, then this problem is to be expected. You should be prepared for it, but it does not mean your truck is closing in at the end of its lifespan.

3. Holding On To The Previous Gear

If your Ford F-150 is holding on to the previous gear, it could be because of a bad torque converter or a fault with the transmission control module.

The torque converter is what allows the truck to shift smoothly. The problem is that if it’s faulty, the vehicle will not be able to switch gears easily.

While accelerating, it will hold on to the previous gear, also called hesitation. The transmission control module (TCM) controls all aspects of the transmission system.

It keeps the gears in sync so they don’t shift early or too late. If this component has an issue, you’ll likely experience delayed shifting when driving the Ford F150 truck.

4. Burning Smell

If you smell a burning smell when driving, it could be due to a low or broken-down transmission fluid.

The transmission fluid helps lubricate and cool the gears inside your Ford F150’s transmission, so if it’s not fully functioning, you’ll start to see problems like this.

If you’re noticing a burning smell from your car, check your transmission fluid level and confirm it’s at the right level.

The smell is produced when the transmission overheats.

This will result in quicker wear and tear on the gears, leading to the transmission failing in less time than it normally would on a Ford F150.

5. Hard Shifting

First and foremost, recheck if there is enough fluid in your transmission. If it’s low on fluid or has been replaced with improper fluid, this could cause problems such as hard shifting.

Hard shifting can also occur when the environment temperature is low. This is because the transmission fluid thickens and does not flow well.

This problem is not found in synthetic transmission fluids. A bad transmission vacuum modulator can also result in issues such as hard shifting.

It is responsible for calculating the engine’s load; if it cannot do so correctly, there is a good chance that the transmission will hard shift.

6. Jerking While Driving

When your Ford F150 is jerking while driving, it could be due to a faulty vacuum modulator valve.

This is present in older models, and if it’s faulty, it can cause the transmission to shift improperly. This will result in the truck continuously jerking while being driven.

It can also be due to a faulty sensor sending false readings. If you notice this problem, then it means that the transmission is unreliable, and you cannot drive with it further.

7. Transmission Slipping

When you’re driving your Ford F150 and notice a slipping transmission, it’s time to check the transmission fluid.

That’s because a slipping transmission can be caused by overheating, which can happen when there is low transmission fluid in the system.

A manual Ford F150 may have a faulty clutch, while others may also have worn-out gears or a failing solenoid.

If you’re having trouble with your transmission, you need to take care that there is no stress being put on it.

If the gears are worn out, that happens because of normal usage. That is to be expected and cannot be avoided.

It normally happens for Ford F150 trucks after driving for around 200,000 miles. If this happens sooner, there is something seriously wrong with the transmission.

8. Loss Of Acceleration

This is the most common sign of a transmission problem in your Ford F150. It is pretty serious and can result in an accident, especially if you are on a highway.

If you are having trouble accelerating, there’s a good chance it’s your transmission that’s causing the issue.

The most common cause of loss of acceleration is a faulty torque converter, but other factors like contamination and low transmission fluid levels can also cause this problem.

The transmission filter may also be clogged, resulting in no acceleration while pushing down on the gas pedal.

All in all, a loss of acceleration can result from many different things, most of which are related to transmission.

9. Loss Of Traction Due To Down Shifting

One of the rarer problems with Ford F150 transmissions is a loss of traction.

Several factors can cause this, but one of the most common is when your transmission downshifts and produces a clunking sound.

This is a problem that was recalled by Ford, which means that they did something wrong.

Loss of traction can lead to a serious accident and prove fatal. This is something that no one can see coming and is very difficult to control.

This problem is pretty serious, and you need to do proper research to avoid buying a model with this issue.

10. Transmission Knocking

If you hear a knocking noise from your transmission, you may be experiencing a problem.

While the sound may be alarming, it’s important to understand what causes it and what can be done.

The most common cause of transmission knocking is worn-out gears. This happens over time and is commonly found in Ford F150s, driven for more than 200,000 miles.

However, other things can also cause this noise. Another possible reason is a faulty sensor sending wrong shifting data, which may result in the gears getting out of sync.

This will result in a knocking sound being produced.

How To Prevent Your Ford F150’s Transmission Issues

Although transmission problems suddenly come into view, there is a way to prevent them for as long as possible.

This section will look at some of the best preventative measures which will allow the transmission of your Ford F150 to run smoothly for as long as possible without running into major issues.

1. Stop Completely Before Shifting From Reverse To Drive

It’s not always easy to remember to stop completely before shifting from reverse to drive, but it can make all the difference for your transmission.

When you roll into reverse and then into drive, you’re putting additional strain on your transmission, which can cause it to break down or even fail.

This may not happen in one go but will lead to increased wear and tear until the transmission fails. You should reach a complete stop before entering the first gear, even if it is for 5 seconds.

2. Keep The Transmission Flushed

When was the last time you checked your fluid levels? If you’re not sure, it’s time to check again!

The fluid helps lubricate the gears inside the transmission and keeps them from grinding against each other or overheating during use.

By keeping up with your fluid changes regularly, you can save yourself from having to pay for an expensive repair later on down the line—and keep your truck running smoothly for years to come!

Double-check that you are putting the right transmission fluid in your Ford F150 truck.

3. Don’t Overfill The Transmission

One way to ensure your transmission stays in tip-top shape is to not overfill it with fluid. Overfilling can lead to the foaming of the fluid, losing its friction-reducing properties.

This causes gears to grind against each other, which will cause damage and wear on your transmission. It also causes overheating and can lead to serious problems down the road.

So be sure to check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations about how much fluid is needed for your Ford F150’s transmission.

4. Make Sure The Transmission Does Not Overheat

The transmission should not overheat at any period. If it does, this could lead to serious damage and even failure.

It can overheat due to stress, so don’t overwork it by changing gears rapidly and towing heavier than recommended amounts. (Let’s see how heavy Ford F150 trucks can tow).

You may be able to identify a stressed transmission when there is a burning smell being emitted. This means it is working hard to meet the constant gear changes.

How To Fix The Ford F150’s Transmission Problems

If you’re having issues with your Ford F-150 transmission, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

If the problem is simple, like a faulty sensor, then all you need to do is look at the part causing the issue and replace it.

If something is more complicated, like a malfunctioning TCM, it may be best to bring your vehicle to a certified Ford who can diagnose and reprogram the module.

This may solve issues such as hesitation while accelerating and gears being out of sync.

Leaks can be fixed by using additives that stop fluid from leaking out of the transmission system.

Finally, overheating can be fixed by using the right amount and the right type of transmission fluid.

Which Year Did Ford F-150 Have Transmission Troubles?

It has been made clear that the Ford F150 is a truck that has had transmission issues in the past and present.

But what models of Ford F-150 trucks are prone to this problem? This section will take a look at that.

2006 Ford F-150

Owners reported that the 2006 Ford F150 had an issue in which all forward gears would slip. There were also reports of metal shavings present in the fluid itself.

2007 Ford F-150

Regarding the 2007 Ford F150 truck, the most commonly reported issue was the failure of the planetary gear. It failed, resulting in the transmission slipping in all forward gears.

2008 Ford F-150

The 2008 model had many issues, which made its transmission unreliable. There were reports of the transmission failing. Even when it was functional, it would slip or shift roughly.

2010 Ford F-150

In 2010, Ford F150 owners reported that their vehicles had hard shifting from second to first gear. There were also reports of the transmission shuddering and vibrating.

2011 Ford F-150

In 2011, Ford F150 owners reported that their transmissions jerked while shifting. Some also reported pump seal leaks, which can cause issues with the normal transmission working.

2013 Ford F-150

The transmission on the 2013 Ford F150 would shift erratically, making driving dangerous. It would also be stuck in first gear, preventing the truck from driving at higher speeds.

2014 Ford F-150

There were two main issues reported with the 2014 Ford F150.

It would hesitate while shifting, making the driving experience less desirable. It would also downshift during dangerous driving.

2015 Ford F-150

Downshifting with the 2015 Ford F150 was difficult. It would be hard and was reported to be a programming problem. But in some cases, even reprogramming the TCM did not fix the issue.

2018 Ford F-150

There were many reports of the 2018 Ford F150’s transmission shifting hard.

Owners also reported that the transmission slipped at times. It would also lunge forward, which is dangerous.

2019 Ford F-150

The 2019 Ford F150’s transmission was known to shift incorrectly at times. The transmission would also produce a clunking sound when shifting gears, indicating a major problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Much Does A Ford F150 Transmission Replacement Cost?

Although there are problems with the Ford F150’s transmission that can be solved using common fixes, not all of them are so simple.

In most cases, the transmission itself completely fails. This only leaves the option to replace it.

A new transmission for the Ford F150 can cost anywhere from $3500 to $5000. This does include all labor costs.

Q2. What Is The Lifespan Of A Ford F150 Transmission?

If you take care of the transmission regularly, you can expect it to last around 200,000 miles.

This is a decent number and means that the transmission can work without rebuilding or replacement for at least 13 years. This number will drop if the transmission is not maintained.


Q3. Is It Safe To Drive A Ford F150 With A Bad Transmission?

It is never safe to drive with a bad transmission. Not only does it make the journey riskier, but there is also a chance of you damaging the transmission even more.

You need to get your truck towed instead of driving it. This will ensure that your transmission’s condition is preserved, and you won’t have to deal with a replacement shortly.


I hope this article has helped you if you were looking for Ford F150 transmission problems.

While there are many causes for transmission failure and many solutions to fix them, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to face these issues alone.

If you do the right research, you can ask the right questions and avoid being charged extra for a workshop.

I hope you can get your truck up and running in no time and with as little cost as possible.